Animals that changed history

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Animals that changed history
Animals that changed history

Animals that changed history: mastodons, mammoths, rats, fleas, tsetse flies, whales, horses, sparrows.


Mastodons, mammoths and bison

Not so long ago, scientists have finally established that the North American Indians are relatives of modern Siberians. What pushed the Indian ancestors, who inhabited the Eurasian tundra and taiga 15 thousand years ago, to pass through the "Beringia" (a hypothetical strip of land that was formed from 50 to 10 thousand years ago on the site of the Bering Strait, when the sea level due to glaciers dropped to 60 m - NS) and, having overcome the most dangerous path through the glacier or along it, populate the New World? The answer is probably provided by the Clovis Indian culture discovered in 1936 in North America. Excavations have shown that in those distant times, the ancestors of the North American autochthons hunted bison, mammoths and mastodons, which made up the main menu of their diet. A sharp cold snap at the end of the Pleistocene forced these animals to explore a new continent. People followed after them.


In 1976, the Soviet ethnographer Mikhail Chlenov discovered the sanctuaries of the ancient Eskimos on the island of Yttygran. They were built from whale bones, so the next expeditions to the island called them "whale alleys." Scientists knew that catching two whales a year for the Eskimo village was a great success, but on Yttygran there were up to 50 skulls of these animals. The researchers realized that the whale alleys were built by a much more advanced civilization than that of modern Eskimos. After all, the construction needed political will and power, the efforts of hundreds of people, and therefore a semblance of a state. All this was in the hands of the Eskimos from the 9th to the 14th centuries - the period of many global warming on the planet. The latter led to an increase in the number of whales and the satiety of the Eskimos. However, in the XIV century, the waters cooled again, and the Arctic people again found themselves on the brink of survival, forgetting about any statehood.

If you are a lover of jokes about the Chukchi and Eskimos, know that once they had a real chance to create a highly developed civilization. And all thanks to the whales.



Wild horses were originally the prey of primitive man, but it was possible to domesticate these animals only 5 thousand years ago. It was the horses that allowed man to quickly master the Eurasian steppes, which stretched for 7 thousand km from the Danube lowland in the west to the Ordos plateau in the east. The steppe is a natural habitat for horses, so they felt great living side by side with the Scythians (Indo-Iranians), who began to develop these huge areas from the 2nd millennium BC. and for a thousand years who have managed to settle in new territories. At the beginning of the 1st millennium A.D. the Scythians were replaced by the Sarmatians and Huns, who were moving farther and farther to the west. Nomads are pushing other peoples to the movement - the Great Migration of Nations takes place. It was possible to stop the Huns only in France. This was the most distant campaign of the steppe horsemen. Which is not surprising, because each of them carried two or even three horses with them.

Great conquests and migrations, the emergence and destruction of states, the formation of religions - all this was closely associated with the steppe corridor and the horse up to the era of great geographical discoveries.


It was the nomads who rode their horses to Europe in the 14th century who brought the bubonic plague there, which Europeans have already forgotten about since the 9th century. The Black Death in the middle of the XIV century determined the further course of European history.

The groans of the dying and horror in the eyes of the still healthy, endless rows of carts with corpses, the stench and fear - behind all this grave turmoil, no one even paid attention to the rats that died right there, under their feet, from the same disease, infected with fleas - carriers of bubonic plague.The population of France for 130 years of plague has decreased from about 21 to 14 million people, England - from 4.5 to 3 million, Germany - from 14 to 10 million.



This tiny and seemingly completely useless bird has led the Chinese to a global catastrophe. However, through the fault of themselves, or rather, their "ideological inspirers."

In 1958, the Chinese Communist Party was full of determination and headed for the Great Leap Forward. Despite the significant lag of the country not only from the countries of the first world, but also from the socialist camp. The “Great Leap Forward”, following the example of the experience of Stalinist collectivization and replacement of professionalism with shock enthusiasm of the workers, was supposed to make the country rise from its knees, increasing steel production six and a half times and grain two and a half times.

For the sake of accomplishing the impossible (steel production), even kitchen utensils were used, which were hastily melted down - just to increase the plan. Added to this was the low qualifications of workers and blast furnaces, where the fuel was simple firewood. At the exit, the Chinese produced only cast iron, and of an extremely low quality.

The same thing happened in agriculture. The fight was declared against four national enemies: flies, rats, mosquitoes and sparrows (the latter because the sparrows ate Chinese crops). Millions of Chinese rushed to fight the tiny birds, here and there mountains of dead sparrows grew. The joy was short-lived. The massive extermination of birds has led to an imbalance in the ecological system. Because, in addition to crops, sparrows exterminated insects, and on a much larger scale than the former. Caterpillars and locusts flooded the fields, causing famine. In total, the Great Leap Forward has claimed the lives of approximately 20 million people.


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